It’s threatening to snow out… again. So, to get my mind off the cursed weather and harsh reality that I will be out snow-blowing and shoveling soon – (my husband very thoughtfully had back surgery recently) – I thought I’d write a blog.
When I was growing up, we lived mostly on the West Coast. Not along the coast but more in the desert climate. So the weather was never very harsh or snowy. We had snow, but my father’s childhood “stories” of ten foot drifts did not materialize for us no matter how hard we prayed.
This got me thinking about how we tend to glamorize, exaggerate, or sometimes downplay a past experience to make it more palatable or exciting.
My grandmother once told me that when their family of six was very young, they lived in a tiny mobile trailer that was so small… “if you cursed the cat you’d get a mouthful of fur.”
My husband likes to tell our kids that we were so poor when we first got married we had to dig through the couch cushions for enough change just to buy milk. Okay, maybe we did that once, but not on a continuing basis. The couch wasn’t exactly a money tree. We had to actually drop money out of our pockets when we sat down. Sadly, it didn’t produce money on its own. So if we didn’t have money for milk to begin with… rickets.
My mom tells a story from her childhood where “evil” neighbor boys talked her into getting on a horse and then took off galloping across the field so her horse would follow, nearly sending her to her death. Being that she was already frightened of horses because her mother had told her the terrifying story about her aunt being nearly trampled to death as a toddler, I think those boys could have walked the horses and she would have thought she was going to die.
I know for a fact that parents often tell young children things that may be stretching the truth just a bit, in order to get them to follow direction.
When I was in kindergarten, before the invention of Elmer’s glue sticks, we had paste. Containers of thick, sticky gunk left in the hands of five-year-olds was probably never a wise idea, but some kids took it to the next level. They didn’t just wipe it all over things they
shouldn’t; they ate the stuff. Why??? you may ask. Didn’t they have a government-funded hot lunch program? Of course they did. We lived in California, after all. The reason some children chose this path will forever be shrouded in mystery. Or as the owl on the Tootsie Pop commercial said, “the world may never know.” To stop a bad habit before it started, my mom told me to just say no to paste because it was made from dead horses and cow hoofs. My grandpa had an old horse that had died recently. I certainly didn’t want to be eating ol’ Bessy. But more than that, I just didn’t want to be as stupid as kids who did. Of course I wasn’t supposed to say stupid either. Some bad paths cannot be altered.
When my children were young and started thinking they should have a cushy ride through life, I nipped that dream in the bud. They asked for the crust to be cut off their sandwiches. I told them I couldn’t do that because the crust was where the vitamins were and if they wanted to survive childhood, they would eat it.
I also told my children that I suffered excruciating labor pain to bring them into this world and give them life… but that’s totally true of course. And they owe me big time.
Do you have a story that you’ve been told or that you tell, that may not be “totally” accurate? Come on… share it. We won’t tell anyone.